Thursday, September 27, 2007

Should I Be A Mite More Anonymous?

Most, if not all, of the blogosphere is anonymous. I have decidedly mixed feelings about this.

My web address is my name, and most people who know me realize I have a blog. I work on the assumption that opinions don't count if you lack the nerve to put your name on them. Anonymity is a refuge for those who lack the courage of their convictions. It's graffiti on the wall.

But the potential drawbacks are tremendous. And I can totally understand and sympahtize with why other people have anonymous blogs. I am at risk for all sorts of unpleasant things. The risk that concerns me most is stalking or other harassment. But, since my traffic is pretty low, I haven't had to worry about that so far.

The second drawback of stamping my name on this thing is that I occasionally tick people off. Aside from the Great State Department Shutdown of '06, my blogging has offended fans of the German Ambassador's wife, 7th Heaven, and insecure men everywhere.

The final drawback concerns me the least. In this Age of the Interweb, potential employers can turn up absurd amounts of personal information in a single swoop. I find this unsettling. I also find it unsettling that I could lose out on a job because of this fairly innocuous blog. So many bloggers feel they have to stay anonymous to protect their livelihoods. Provided the blogger keeps mum about his or her job, who really cares? Why should the employer even care?

But this last drawback is fine by me. I figure if an employer is stodgy or intrusive enough to deny me for a job simply because I have a blog, then I probably don't want to work there anyway. I like my life as it is, and am disinclined to change myself to appease the suits.

So why am I all alone out here? Why are there so many anonymous blogs out there? I'd especially like to hear from people with anonymous blogs. Is it fear of stalking? Fear of retribution from employers? Or, and this one scares me, so you can say whatever you want without consequences?


Foilwoman said...

I don't think you should be anonymous unless you feel the need to be. I write anonymously because I started writing in the wake of my marriage's breakdown and a painful divorce. Since I don't want to embarrass myself, my kids, my ex, or even the men I date, I write anonymously but freely about personal issues trying very hard to change identifying features. If I were writing an issues blog or a "what's going on in DC" blog, I'd probably feel differently. But that's why I write anonymously.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think I needed to be anonymous either until I got fired for what I said on my personal blog. My employer had full knowledge of my blog but didn't seem to mind it until I wrote an entry about being unhappy at work.

The company was never named nor were there ever any indications who my employer was, but I still got called in for a meeting the next morning and was immediately let go without pay. It was a devastating blow both financially and professionally.

While I still stand by every word I wrote and disagree that my blog contained anything worth being fired for, suddenly being jobless and penniless doesn't leave you with many counter-litigation options.

Shannon said...

Your employer's name could have been easily identified, though, via a Google search. A reprimand would have been perfectly fair, but I agree that firing you was over the line.

I simply avoid talking about work at all, except in very broad terms. I avoid any negativity about my job. I figure a blog doesn't give me the right to criticize my employer, and in an "at-will" world, you can't be too careful.

Econo-Girl said...

Something's going to have to give in our culture. And what is going to give is the peering into personal lives. We need worker bees to replace the aging Boomers.

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